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Why I Ditched all New Years Resolutions for this One Daily Habit

I flipped through last year’s planner.

Well, look at that. There are those New Year’s Resolutions/goals that I diligently wrote down because, of course, if you want to be a purposeful person one should do that.

This was probably the first time I had read through them since last January.

Any success guru would tell you this was my first mistake: forgetting what the resolutions even were.

So this month as I have reviewed the past year, I don’t have the satisfaction of checking off some goal list from last year. But, my, do I have a huge list of adventures, blessings, victories and accomplishements to thank the Lord for.

Each of these can be traced back to one practice that did remain consistent throughout the year long after the goals had been forgotten in the mix of a bustling and barreling life with many children and ministry.

Listening Prayer.

The one habit that can be a portal into a life of strengthening, direction, adventure and best of all, intimacy with the Living Christ.

This is the one habit that can move you into places and roles you never even imagined for yourself, or just thought might be a far off possibility.

But what is Listening Prayer exactly?

Let me share Leanne Payne’s words about it. She has been my “coach” through her book  “Listening Prayer” since I first read it my sophomore year in college.

[Listening Prayer] to God encompasses three vital steps. The first principle and first step in beginning to listen to God is to take the Sacred Texts [Bible] into our very spirits and souls by meditating on them prayerfully. 

His Word then “abides in us”  burning as an inner light, and we naturally cry out to God…with a responsive speech born of God’s Word aflame within us. [His Word informs what we pray and how we pray]

We then move into the third step of prayer-listening to God…This listening exercises our spiritual ears, preparing us to receive from God any word He might send even in the more hectic parts of our days and lives…Always in prayer we seek to gain the Lord’s mind on the matter at hand, and for an increase of wisdom and understanding from the Spirit.” (pp.26,27)

It was this kind of listening prayer, whether it be privately, with prayer partners, or corporately that led to the following:

Pulling one of our daughters out of charter school in order to begin homeschooling her and meet some deep emotional needs in January 2018

My husband, Danny’s healing from Lyme Disease

The prompting and propelling to record my Grandmother’s faith and wisdom, leading to the publishing of my first book.

Danny and I going on our favorite adventure/vacation of our married life, our trip to Norway.

“Hearing” from the Lord that He had another son for us 8 months before I got pregnant, thus leading to a welcoming and excitement over the news instead of fear.

Committing to be a tutor with our local homeschool co-op.

Pulling our seventh grade son out of school in order to homeschool him during a pivotal year in his life.

Revamping how we would go about “doing house church”, leading to such a joyful, rich and deep discipleship of over 50 youth in our community, plus the raising up of leaders in this call to discipleship.

The shifting of our role from being “church planters” to being “urban missionaries”, encompassing youth ministry, sports coaching, community development and engagement, running a recording studio, and having a ministry and mentoring of up and coming musical artists.

Enrolling in the FASTer Way to Fat Loss (FWTFL) program resulting in a new mindset, new health, and new food freedom.

At the start of January 2018, I never would have imagined these things coming into existence. But as we sought the Lord daily, and as each new issue arose and we sat before the Lord to seek His counsel, help and provision, HE gave the guidance, cleared the way, and provided what was needed.  This kind of living is an adventure, a challenging faith-walk, and a consistent boost in one’s experience of the faithfulness and goodness of a God who has made Himself available and near through His Son and His Spirit.

As 2019 has started full steam ahead, I’m excited to see where the Great King might lead and direct as we continue to seek His face, His direction, and His empowerment.

It sure beats any strivings after “bettering myself” or attempting to stick to a long list of resolutions and goals.

And its more exciting in the process.